Catalina 320

“We are just super super happy with our Hydro-Vane. It really IS that good!!!”

From: Mark & Shawnae
Sent: January 28, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Congratulations on your new Hydrovane!

Hello Will, Richard, etal:

Well, we’ve had the Hydrovane installed now for a couple of months.

Unbelievable – what a different world for us.  We love it.  I mean, we’re absolutely totally impressed with the technology and engineering behind it.  Zoe (as we’ve named it) is amazing.  So far, she’s steered us 300 to 400 miles.  and has done great.  It’s just so simple to use, yet the engineering is so complex and robust.  I’m sure we’ll do well with her for many many many miles.

It took us about two days to get her fully installed.  I was able to find some 1-1/2 pvc Schedule 80 electric conduit that was ‘almost’ 2″ outside diameter that we used to dry fit everything.  That was absolutely key.  In your directions to new purchasers, you should make a bigger thing out of that.  Dry fit it first using a mockup.   Once that was done, a grinder and cutoff wheel to make all three pipes the exact size. . . .  and we were good to go.

We’ve got things dialed in pretty darn good with respect to adjust course underway and all that.   I’m sure that in time, this will all become intuitive.    It’s interesting to realize andunderstand the physics behind the wind vane steering.  On a beam reach, for example, as the wind increases, so does the ‘apparent wind’ angle.  So, we’re learning how to “fiddle” with those adjustments.

One thing, we’d like some help with.  At anchor, the rudder ‘clunks’ a lot.  We sleep in the aft-berth, so we are literally right next to the hydrovane.  Even with all three pins in, the rudder rotates slightly and ‘clunks’, especially if there is some wind/waves .   at bed, in the night, it’s pretty obnoxious.   Yes, I know, one obvious solution is to remove the rudder completely, but that’s kind of a hassle.    we were thinking of adding a little SS eye-hook with a a bungee cord to hold it firmly to one side or the other at anchor.    Do have any other suggestions or feedback on this issue??

mark and shawnae

s/v Firefly

Catalina 320

From: Richard Minielly
Sent: January 28, 2022
To: Mark & Shawnae
Subject: RE: Congratulations on your new Hydrovane!

Hi Mark & Shawnae,

I’m so happy to hear that your installation went smoothly, and you have been enjoying using the Hydrovane so far. Thank you for the kind words and feedback on your installation. Do you mind if we post your email onto our Testimonials page? We get asked quite frequently about installation techniques and how to stop some of the “clunking” about at anchor.

Your idea is right on track with our normal recommendation for rudders that clunk at anchor or vibrate excessively while motoring. The best tool we have found is a docking or anchor line with a rubber “snubber”, attached from the rudder handle with a small amount of force over to a corner cleat or other attachment point. A heavy-duty bungee would work for this purpose as well. It won’t completely stop the noise but should seriously limit the back and forth play of the rudder.

If you are leaving the rudder in the water semi-permanently, we also recommend giving it a rough sand and painting with a non-ablative (hard) antifoul paint. This will significantly lessen the maintenance required to keep the rudder and shaft growth-free.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any other questions, performance review (good or bad), and especially photos of your installation! We love receiving pictures and feedback at any time.


Richard Minielly

From: Mark Bratz
Sent: February 28, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Congratulations on your new Hydrovane!

Hello again.

We had yet another WONDERFUL run today with Zoe (our name for the Hydro-Vane crew member) at the helm. 30 miles offshore in the Exuma’s, Bahamas.

We are just super super happy with our Hydro-Vane.   It really IS that good!!!

Mark and Shawnae

S/v Firefly

Catalina 320